Powerplay occurs when a team gets a 2- or 5-min penalty after a foul and should be a golden opportunity to score. After all, the top teams in the world score around 50-70% of their powerplays and have the ability to convert the numerical advantage to a lot of goals.
But for us mere mortals, this is far from easy.
In one of my previous articles, I talked about free balls and how that often goes very wrong during my own training sessions – and now I want to start with an example of a dramatic powerplay:
After two warnings, that one crazy guy in your opponent’s team slashes your stick for the hundredth time this match. He gets a 2-min penalty for slashing and is sent to the side of the field. Your team plays powerplay and gets the chance to hunt for a goal, but it’s not going well. Not a single pass arrives, the ball is lost several times and it takes a long time to recover ball possession. The worst? The biggest chance of the powerplay … is for your opponents – while they have one man less!
Sounds familiar? Or at least not entirely outside the realm of possibilities?
Then this is the article you are looking for.
In this introductory article, I will explain the essentials of a powerplay. I will discuss the different positions in the field, their roles, what qualities you are looking for in players for each position, how the different positions interact and a couple of simple patterns that your team can take advantage of right away.
I also mention things like the slot, the ball side and help side of the field and the height of defense. If you are not yet familiar with these terms, I advise you to first read this article about defending in the dice five, the 2-1-2 formation.
Ready? Let’s go!
Powerplay comes in different shapes and sizes. In the example above, it is a 5-vs-4 situation, where only one player has a time penalty, but in floorball, it can also happen that 5-vs-3 is played, or 6-vs-5, 6-vs-4 and in emergency situations sometimes even 6-vs-3.
For simplicity’s sake, we’ll focus on a standard 5-vs-4 powerplay, the most common of numerical advantage situations.
In the picture below I have drawn the default positioning of the powerplay. In this case, the defensive team plays in a diamond 1-2-1 up to about 50% of the field. We are the attacking party and have the ball on our own half. We are in a kind of 1-3-1 / 1-2-1-1 formation.
Disclaimer: The goal of this article is not to tell you how you have to build your powerplay but to give you advice on how you can build it. There are many variations in which you can position a team for powerplay but since this is the first article I choose to keep things simple.
I review the positions of all players, starting with the Point (player #1). This is the last man.
Qualities you want him to possess:
- Good passer
- (Good distance shot)
His job is to move the ball quickly from left to right across the field so that the opponent is pulled out of position, in order for us to work towards a great shooting chance. Less important is if he has a good distance shot. It’s a welcome addition but less important than somehow who can hold the ball and passes accurately and fast. The important thing here is, and this is more or less general advice but applies to powerplay even more: know your next action before you get the ball.
In the article about the Royal Road, I explained earlier how important it is to move the ball. By means of quick passes across the width of the pitch, you ensure that the opponent’s goalkeeper has to move each time. With a shot, he is, therefore, more likely to be out of position and won’t be able to see the ball coming. Read the article here.
Left Wing & Right Wing
There are two players on the sides of the pitch who can also pass well, but perhaps even more importantly, who have a good (direct) shot. So we’re looking at these qualities:
- Good passer
- Good shot (wrist or slap)
- Lefty on the right side
- Righty on the left side
If the Point manages to play the ball to LW or RW fast enough, and the goalkeeper is too slow in moving, they can try a direct shot. However, this is only possible if the pass is good: fast and hard, but over the ground and without a spin effect.
What often turns out to be a successful tactic is the following:
- Point plays back and forth to LW and RW. With each pass, the opponent will move a bit further towards the ball side.
- At some point, Point passes the ball to RW or LW who can shoot directly without an opponent being in the path of the shot.
There is a good chance that the goalkeeper is still in the other corner of the goal, so there is a fair of scoring a goal.
Note that while we’re already working on a big shooting opportunity, we’re not even using all of our players yet! An important point here is that LW and RW should always be a threat to the goal.
Are you standing with your back towards the goal?
Then your opponent automatically knows that you can never shoot at goal in one go, so there is little threat from your side. However, if you are ready to shoot directly – stick firmly grabbed, having an open stance towards the goal and are aware of where the goalkeeper is sitting – the opponent will have to respond to you as soon as the ball goes your way performing a fake shot also works very well in this regard: you do if you are going to take a devastating shot at goal, but eventually decide to return the ball to the Point.
The opponent will have to adapt to the new situation after every pass with especially their most forward player. Also, their wing players have to make many meters if they want to catch up with the passing. So don’t be afraid to be patient, because that’s the only way to exhaust your opponent until he is no longer in the lane of the shot.
Time to bring our fourth player in the equation.
The Slot Guy
Slot, not sloth! Not you again …
Naming the Point and the two Wings was fairly easy. I tried to come up with a cool name for the man in the middle but this was tougher than I anticipated … so Slot Guy it is.
Slot Guy is the most dangerous player on the field during a powerplay. Why?
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